September is Suicide Prevention Month. Did you know that 1 in 4 people experience a mental illness at any given time? This is something that touches all of us, having lost a family member to suicide I know how devastating it can be to families in our community. As a member of the Suicide Prevention Council, I’m hoping to reduce the rates of suicide in Alaska. Here’s a list of resources in our community that you or a loved one can go to if you need information: NAMI, StopSuicideAlaska, Suicide.org,Alaska Suicide Prevention Council, and Alaska Suicide Prevention Resource. These issues are so important as Alaska has some of the highest rates of suicide. Please read the proclamation below or click on the link to read the official proclamation.
WHEREAS, every Alaskan life is precious, and the State of Alaska is committed to nurturing and cultivating healthy communities and creating opportunities for all Alaskans; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s suicide rate is twice the national average, impacting both urban and rural Alaskan communities with devastatingly high rates of suicide; and
WHEREAS, Alaska has high rates of many risk factors for suicide, which include a previous suicide attempt, substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness or isolation, access to lethal means, physical or sexual abuse, history of mental health disorders such as clinical depression, lack of access to mental health treatment services, chronic pain or serious physical illness, or incarceration; and
WHEREAS, those who have lost a loved one to suicide need support and understanding as they grieve but too often are unable to received treatment and recovery services; and
WHEREAS, help is available to Alaskans struggling to cope, considering suicide, or grieving the loss of someone to suicide by calling Alaska’s Caroline, 1-877-266-4357 (HELP); and
WHEREAS, the Walker/Mallott Administration is actively working to ensure that State of Alaska agencies and personnel are equipped to offer help and support to those in need, and the Alaska Statewide Suicide Prevention Council provides outreach and education to prevent suicide. Additionally, the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health’s Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program supports communities in promoting resilience and training Alaskans in basic suicide prevention techniques; and
WHEREAS, if you are not sure if someone needs help, it is the right thing to do to ASK: Ask if they are thinking about ending their life; Share that you care; and Keep them company until you connect them to Caroline or someone they trust who can offer support.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Walker, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim September, 2016 as: Suicide Prevention Month in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to take this opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to community, family, and life, and to reach out to those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.